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  1. Vol. 21 No. 6, p. 977-980
     
    Received: Jan 12, 1981
    Published: Nov, 1981


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doi:10.2135/cropsci1981.0011183X002100060041x

Corn Yields as Related to Legumes and Inorganic Nitrogen1

  1. A. A. Fleming,
  2. J. E. Giddens and
  3. E. R. Beaty2

Abstract

Abstract

High corn (Zea mays L.) yields require heavy N applications. Sources of inorganic N fertilizer have become less dependable and prices more expensive. A 3-year study was initiated to evaluate the use of winter legumes and inorganic N as sources of N for corn production under modern culture. The experiment included three whole-plot clover treatments (arrowleaf, Trifolium vesiculosum Savi; crimson, Trifolium incarnatum L; and fallow) and five inorganic split-plot treatments ranging from 0 to 180 kg/ha N.

Significant whole-plot × split-plot interactions occurred in 1975 for both grain yield and dry stover. Corn following clover produced 318% more grain than corn following fallow in 1975. When no N was applied, corn yield on fallow averaged 25 q/ha and increased 272% and 364% when grown following arrowleaf and crimson, respectively. The 180 kg/ha N did not increase corn yields significantly when compared with 90 kg/ha N with or without clover. Differences in stover yields between the 90 and 180 kg/ha N were not significant in any of the whole-plot treatments in any year.

Crimson clover produced in a 2-year average about 1600 kg/ha more dry-weight forage than arrowleaf. Total forage N at time of turning averaged 163 and 131 kg/ha, respectively, for crimson and arrowleaf. Differences in forage yield and in N content of the clovers were attributed to differences in maturity at time of turning.

Growing a winter legume to replace all or part of the N may become a viable alternative in double-cropping systems for corn production and conserving soll in the southern U.S. and in developing countries.

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